Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).

×

+ - Robocops Direct Traffic in the Congo->

Submitted by mspohr
mspohr (589790) writes "The Guardian describes robocops used in Kinshasa to direct traffic:
"The solar-powered aluminium robots are huge, towering over the jammed streets of Kinshasa, as cars and motorcyles jostle for road room, their horns blasting.
Each hand on the odd-looking machines — built to withstand the year-round hot climate — is fitted with green and red lights that regulate the flow of traffic in the sprawling city of nine million.
The robots are also equipped with rotating chests and surveillance cameras that record the flow of traffic and send real-time images to the police station."
These are second generation robots designed by a Congolese association of women engineers.
"Although the humanoids look more like giant toys than real policemen, motorists have given them a thumbs up.
“There are certain drivers who don’t respect the traffic police. But with the robot it will be different. We should respect the robot,” taxi driver Poro Zidane told AFP.""

Link to Original Source

+ - Lockheed Martin Claims Sustainable Fusion Is Within Its Grasp-> 1

Submitted by SternisheFan
SternisheFan (2529412) writes "Imagine a source of electrical power that uses water for fuel, produces byproducts that are totally safe and releases no air pollution. Then imagine that once it's up and running, it'll be so portable that an entire power plant could fit into the cargo hold of an airplane. Now, imagine that it'll be running in prototype form in five years and operating commercially in ten.

The fusion is powered by a combination of two isotopes of Hydrogen, Deuterium and Tritium, both of which occur in nature and which can be extracted from water. "Our studies show that a 100 MW system would only burn less than 20 kg of fuel in an entire year of operation," a Lockheed Martin spokesperson told eWEEK. "Tritium fuel is continually bred within the reactor wall and fed back into the reactor along with deuterium gas to sustain the reactions."
In other words, the fusion reactor creates most of its own fuel as part of its operation. The Deuterium gas is simply a normal hydrogen atom with an extra neutron, creating what is sometimes called "heavy hydrogen." Deuterium can be extracted from the hydrogen obtained from electrolysis of water. This may sound complicated, but it's a process that has been routinely performed in college physics projects.
While the fusion reactor does create a radioactive byproduct, it's recycled for use in the reactor itself. There is no radioactive waste problem such as exists with nuclear fission power plants. "The waste footprint is orders of magnitude less than coal plants which require huge landfills to contain the toxic ash and sludge wastes," the spokesperson said in an email.
"A typical coal plant generates over 100,000 tons of ash and sludge containing toxic metals and chemicals each year. The first generation of fusion reactors will run on Deuterium-Tritium fuel, but successive generations would use fuels that could eliminate the radioactivity altogether," she said.
Currently Lockheed Martin is in the process of testing a magnetic confinement bottle, where the Skunk Works team has apparently made significant progress. In terms of how a fusion reactor would be created, the magnetic bottle is the primary hurdle.
If that's accomplished successfully most of the science and engineering is known. However, that doesn't mean that building the prototype fusion reactor is a done deal. Lockheed Martin is looking for industry partners to help develop the Compact Fusion reactor into a real product.
The goal is to create a fusion reactor that can generate heat to use in existing power plants, where the reactor would replace existing fossil fuel combustion. This means that existing power generation and distribution infrastructure would be retained, which will dramatically reduce the cost of implementation and dramatically speed up deployment.
The existence of cheap, portable power will transform the world in many ways. A statement from the company envisions ships and aircraft with unlimited range, spacecraft that could reduce the travel time to Mars to less than a month.
Perhaps most important to the most people, it could bring vast amounts of power to anywhere on earth, providing among other things economical water desalination to developing regions of the globe, which are not only poor, but short of clean water, by removing energy scarcity as an insurmountable problem.
If Lockheed Martin can pull this off, and given the reputation of the Skunk Works for routinely doing the impossible, I suspect it will, the results will be transformative.
While it doesn't mean free energy, it does mean that the cost of nearly unlimited energy is very low, and with unlimited energy, there's no end to what can be accomplished. To say that the Skunk Works is on the verge of changing the world is an understatement. This development could well define the future."

Link to Original Source

+ - A step closer to explaining high-temperature superconductivity?->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit (1205606) writes "For years some physicists have been hoping to crack the mystery of high-temperature superconductivity—the ability of some complex materials to carry electricity without resistance at temperatures high above absolute zero—by simulating crystals with patterns of laser light and individual atoms. Now, a team has taken—almost—the next-to-last step in such "optical lattice" simulation by reproducing the pattern of magnetism seen in high-temperature superconductors from which the resistance-free flow of electricity emerges."
Link to Original Source

+ - Xfce 4.12 Released

Submitted by jones_supa
jones_supa (887896) writes "The Xfce team is pleased to announce the release of the Xfce 4.12, a new stable version of the fast and optimized desktop environment that supersedes Xfce 4.10, which was released 2 years and 10 months ago. While the version number looks like a small jump, there is a big amount of improvements and fixes all around. Most notable things that have seen changes are: the panel, power management, multi-monitor support, task manager, file manager, optical disc burning (Blu-Ray support), Alt-Tab popup, keyboard shortcuts, and wallpaper selector. An online tour of the changes in the new version is available. Looking into the future, the plan to upgrade from GTK2 to GTK3 is probably the hottest topic in the roadmap."

Comment: White-n-Gold, Then Black-n-Blue (Score 1) 419

by Zamphatta (#49153511) Attached to: Is That Dress White and Gold Or Blue and Black?
I originally saw it as white & gold when I saw it on a forum Thursday night, and figured it was being posted by trolls 'cause they were asking people what color it was even when it was obviously white & gold. Friday morning I saw it on the news on TV, and they explained that some people see it as black & blue. I thought that was a bit crazy, but after a few minutes, I was suddenly able to see it as black & blue......and I can switch back & forth between the two color sets if I try hard. Awesome.

+ - C++Now 2015 Student/Volunteer Program Accepting Applications

Submitted by jones_supa
jones_supa (887896) writes "Are you a student and passionate C++ programmer? The C++Now 2015 Student/Volunteer program is now accepting applications. The program was started in 2013 in an effort to encourage student involvement in the C++Now conference and the C++ community. Each year, the conference helps a small group of young whipper snappers to attend the event. In exchange, the students help the C++Now staff in running the conference. Volunteers assist with various on-site tasks, such as recording sessions, escorting keynote speakers and setting up the conference picnic. They are able to attend most sessions. Volunteers receive a waiver of their registration fees and stipends for travel-related expenses may be provided. Applications will be accepted from February 5th to March 5th, 2015. Application decisions will be sent out on March 18th, 2015."

+ - Game Theory Calls Cooperation Into Question->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "The physicist Freeman Dyson and the computer scientist William Press, both highly accomplished in their fields, had found a new solution to a famous, decades-old game theory scenario called the prisoner’s dilemma, in which players must decide whether to cheat or cooperate with a partner. The prisoner’s dilemma has long been used to help explain how cooperation might endure in nature. After all, natural selection is ruled by the survival of the fittest, so one might expect that selfish strategies benefiting the individual would be most likely to persist. But careful study of the prisoner’s dilemma revealed that organisms could act entirely in their own self-interest and still create a cooperative community.

Press and Dyson’s new solution to the problem, however, threw that rosy perspective into question. It suggested the best strategies were selfish ones that led to extortion, not cooperation.

Plotkin found the duo’s math remarkable in its elegance. But the outcome troubled him. Nature includes numerous examples of cooperative behavior. For example, vampire bats donate some of their blood meal to community members that fail to find prey. Some species of birds and social insects routinely help raise another’s brood. Even bacteria can cooperate, sticking to each other so that some may survive poison. If extortion reigns, what drives these and other acts of selflessness?"

Link to Original Source

+ - With Not Impossible's technology, ALS patient speaks for first time in 15 years->

Submitted by TechCurmudgeon
TechCurmudgeon (3904121) writes "From TechRepublic: Don and Lorraine Moir were married in 1989. Over the next six years, they had three children together and spent their days happily living in London, Ontario. Then, Don was diagnosed with ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease, a progressive neurodegenerative disease that weakens muscles and impacts physical function.

By May 1999, Don was on a ventilator. He hasn't spoken a word since. Not Impossible Labs gave him his voice back using a special keyboard and open source technology."

Link to Original Source

+ - Splitting HARES, Military Grade Crypto in Malware->

Submitted by Dharkfiber
Dharkfiber (555328) writes "Andy Greenberg @ Wired Magazine writes, "Software reverse engineering, the art of pulling programs apart to figure out how they work, is what makes it possible for sophisticated hackers to scour code for exploitable bugs. It’s also what allows those same hackers’ dangerous malware to be deconstructed and neutered. Now a new encryption trick could make both those tasks much, much harder." New crypto tricks being added to Malware, SSL, Disk, and now HARES packaging."
Link to Original Source

It is much easier to suggest solutions when you know nothing about the problem.

Working...